Are You On Track? Mid Year Review Of Writing Goals

Blogging is a fantastic way to stay accountable and you guys keep me honest!

It’s over half way through the year now, so it’s time to review my writing goals for 2013 to make sure I’m on track. I hope you will also have a look at yours and share in the comments how you are doing. Come on, be honest now! We’re all friends here.

all books(1) Main goal: Stick with Plan A and create more books

I’m pretty happy with the progress so far, but I still want to write several more books before the end of the year, so I had better crack on.

  • New crime thriller – book #2 I have plot ideas and have started some research. This is the one I want to tackle next, but it is the 2nd in the series that my agent has, so if it sells you won’t see it for a while! But the story won’t leave me alone so it has to be written …
  • ARKANE #4 – themed around Kabbalah and Spain – not started but rough ideas on the go
  • Another novella, based on a character from Desecration who needs her own story
  • Non-fiction – Creative Business/ Solopreneur – not started. I’m considering a book on public speaking for creatives instead since I get asked about that all the time.

Get back into print and audio

I can tick this goal off as:

I’m going to add foreign rights to the list, as I am currently in discussions around German translation, which I’d love to have out by Christmas. This would be a JV deal as an independent author, not a rights deal, but I am pretty much open to other opportunities.

(2) The Creative Penn Blog, Podcast, Videos and Online Courses

prowriterThe site continues as ever – a few new updates:

(3) Professional Speaking

I’m still doing a lot of speaking. The biggest change is the Guardian Masterclasses which I am now doing full-day workshops for. Exciting stuff. But actually, I am also relishing an empty diary as it gives me more time to write.

Guardian Speaking Masterclass

Speaking at The Guardian on self-publishing

I’m also going to add another goal to the list:

(4) Do an international research trip

Travelling is such an important part of my life, and I love the research process. Last year’s trip to Budapest sparked the seed of Relic which will be out in the next few months.

I’ve now booked for Southern India, so I can foresee something coming in 2014 that resonates with that part of the world. I love India, and the last time I was there, I visited the burning ghats of Varanasi. That memorable place sparked the opening scene of Pentecost when a nun runs through the labyrinth of the markets there, trying to escape her pursuers, but ends up burning alive …

so yes, anyway, I love to travel so I’m adding it to the goals list.

I’d love to know how you’re getting on with your writing goals for the year. Please do leave a comment below and we can celebrate with you (or kick you in the ass! with love, of course)


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  1. Joe says

    I must admit I feel wholly inadequate when I lay my list beside yours, except for the fact that you obviously have been doing this on a professional level for a while now. I do not have a literary agent and at this point I am about 2/3 through the final edit of my first manuscript. I have a trilogy in mind that I plan to start as soon as my other is finished and out to my Beta Readers. My blog is about seven months old and slowly growing in readership.

    • says

      Hi Joe, congratulations and thank you for sharing! Remember that we are all at different points in the journey. When this blog was 7 months old, I had 1 non-fiction book that wasn’t selling at all :) so things have really changed a lot for me over the last 4 years. But I have been sharing goals every year and rounding them up at year end – and for each little step we take, we get closer to the bigger goals.
      So, 2/3 through the final edit of my first manuscript is fantastic :) and I shall challenge you to get it finished and sorted before the end of the year. I’ll expect you back for an update!

  2. says

    That is an impressive list! Intimidating even. 😉 I’m plugging away at 300 words a day, which seems like a tiny amount, I know, but it’s what I can manage – and it’s a 90,000 word book per year, plus time off for editing!

  3. Carla Conrad says

    I’m afraid I need that kick, Joanna. I have a couple of manuscripts that I’ve received good feedback on, but neither are finished. I hope to retire from my corporate writing job next year and would like to pursue being an independent author through Amazon, etc. I discovered you on YouTube about six months ago and have been to your website and begun working my way through the materials you provide. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. It has been very instructive. I’m studying your marketing course now so that I’ll have a better idea of what’s involved, but first I need to finish the darn book. I think one of my problems is being afraid of making a mistake. I’ve revised too many times and now that pursuit of maybe not perfection but getting it right is really hampering progress. I think you may have an idea what that feels like because your schedule must be very full. Any suggestions on how to get over the uncertainty and push on would be appreciated.

    • says

      Hi Carla,
      we all make mistakes :) that’s just life – so you can only do your best – pay for pro editing and then get on with it! I’ve made lots of mistakes but it’s actually helped me move on as well – we can only learn that way. Read ‘Turning Pro’ by Steven Pressfield – and also The War of Art – that will help!

  4. says

    I’m not as far as you! But I’m on target. Self-pubbed my first novel in March. I have it available in PB and the audiobook will be available in a few weeks. The second in the series went to my editor last week. And I’m halfway there on a holiday novella for the same series. I want to write book 3 in the series and send it to my editor by October and here’s my stretch goal – by Dec 31, have the the rough draft of the first book in an apocalyptic trilogy complete. Then push myself to increase my goals for 2014.

  5. says

    Thanks for the reality check on where you were 7 mos in. That’s exactly where I am now too and so far I’m on track. I find it hard not to compare myself with others so I do try to at least look at people who are where I am, more or less. Sometimes I need a little kick and a little reward :-)

    I LOVE the cover. Stunning.

  6. Marcia Richards says

    Joanna, you’re accomplishing so much this year! Congrats!
    I’ve been dealing with a serious health issue this year so, I’m just beginning to get on track again. I’m working on a short story anthology and plan to have it finished and published by the first of 2014. My husband and I are also writing a stage play script which we plan to finish by the end of the year and, hopefully sell to a theater company.
    I’m trying to find the right way to streamline my blog and am getting back to a schedule of blogging after being away from it for a few months.
    I’ll reassess how “on track” I am in about 3 months.

    • says

      Hi Marcia, I’m so sorry about the health issues and that’s the most important thing. That should be your goal, so don’t stress about being ‘ on track’ with anything else. Sometimes we have to stop for a bit :) Sending positive vibes your way ….

  7. says

    Jo, you amaze me with the amount of stuff you’re able to get done!
    I’ve given up setting writing goals in January because every time I do, they get thrown out of the window by circumstances beyond my control. This year was no different – I got hit with redundancy and had a two month scramble to get myself another job (which I managed, phew). So I’ve basically been keeping my writing ticking over and set myself a goal of starting a novella (at the end of May) and finishing it before I go on holiday in September.
    After that, I’ll set myself some goals for the next 6 months or so. I’m hoping using the academic year might be a bit more lucky!
    I’m starting to use some of your tips to find more time for writing (losing a bit of TV time in the evenings is no real sacrifice is it?) and it’s really starting to pay off. So, let’s see what I can achieve in my next six months!


    You are a source of inspiration to me. I am not too far from my goals. I planned to write four books this year and publish at least two before the end of the year.
    I have already written two books and the third one is in progress.I will be sending them for editing very soon.
    I like your cover design. Who designed it ? Thanks for sharing your goals.

  9. says

    Joanna; I’m beginning to suspect that you are an alien that requires no sleep. I have my third novel, Talisman, in print and am about to jump into the book-signing end of the pool. I have rewritten and am editing the first novel, an ebook, which will go to print this fall. No. 4 has 40,000 words, and growing, and a novella, Grandma’s Attic, which launched itself out of the ether into my consciousness is half done. Keep pushing us!

  10. says

    Joanna, I swear you are a deity of something. My main goal is getting up before 8 a.m. and checking out the weather with my good friend Siri. Seriously, I published my first book “The Storyteller” last fall with no clue what I was doing. (Thank God for Amazon, CreatSpace, and KDP) That was the easy part (Only took 12 years). I had no idea how to market to people I don’t know. I had no idea what my next project would be…I was lost.

    But two good things have happened in the past month. I found Twitter and all the resources it brings. And I have begun the next novel it what I never pictured as a series. Like “The Storyteller,” it will be a spiritual thriller. With those two assets, my calendar will be full reading, writing, blogging, and living the life I never had time for before.

    Thanks for you blog, your books, and your inspiration. I’ll keep you posted as to how the year progresses.

    • says

      That’s a familiar story Michael :) I started this site nearly 5 years ago because I had a book and no clue how to market it! I’m glad you’ve discovered Twitter as well – it certainly changed my life through the contacts I’ve made there.

  11. says

    Hi Joanna. I started following you on Twitter after you were on the Self-Publishing Podcast. Your twitter feed is awesome. I’m always reading gems you’ve found on the web, so keep up the great work.

    As to progress:
    I published my first novel, “The Bite on the End of the Line” in June;
    I’m working on the second book in that series (On the second draft at the moment). Hopefully it will be out in September;
    I’m also working on a sci-fi techno thriller which I’m about half way done with the second draft. Hopefully that will be out in September/October;
    And I’ve started planning a few more, one of which could be awesome but would be bordering on erotica, so I may use a pseudonym there. Haven’t decided yet.

    Since I’m working full time, I’m hoping to write four novels or novellas a year going forward, but we’ll see how that goes :)


  12. says

    I thought it was quite strange at first when I imported a watered-down version of the appraisal system from my day job into my writing but, like you, I’ve found it useful to look back over the last six months and compare where I’ve got to with where I thought I’d be. It’s the opposite of what the motivational gurus tell us (and perhaps you, Joanna?) but I actually prefer aims to goals, or at least to focus on process rather than outcome, because so much that happens in writing is unpredictable and outside our control – you perhaps have a bit more control with self publishing but, even so, they’re be days/weeks/months perhaps when the writing just doesn’t work – and it doesn’t help to beat ourselves up about unmet objectives, there are enough disappointments in this business as it is! Still, it’s great to see it working for you and thanks for all the experience you are sharing on the site.

  13. says

    I’m amazed at how much you’ve done. I’m in the re-planning stages of my novel, which I meant to rewrite in January, but I’m moving ahead with it slowly but surely. I need to create more measured goals, and be more accountable daily. Thanks for the kick in the pants!

  14. says

    Holy Hades woman! You are busy! How in the world do you do all of it? Can I have some of your super powers?

    I am well on my way to accomplishing my goals. I am in the middle of my first draft for my WIP, a novel I’m been dreaming of writing since the beginning of time. I started up my website and blog. This is my second week with it live! Yay! It’s exciting and overwhelming all at once. Now that I’ve started my goals I need to set more concrete mini goals and a year goal for myself to help keep me focused and moving forward. Camp NaNoWriMo is helping me, but I need something deeper to go along and beyond that.

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